Transit Funding Vote a Blow to Illinois Commuters
March 29, 2012
In response to passage of H.R. 4281, a 90-day extension of federally-funded surface transportation programs by the U.S. House of Representatives, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) released the following statement:
“Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted against transportation funding certainty and long-term job growth by approving a short-term ‘extension’ that defers important decisions,” said RTA Executive Director Joseph G. Costello. “Millions of transit riders and commuters across northeastern Illinois will pay the price.”
“Without a multi-year bill, mass transit and highway officials can’t bond critically needed repairs and upgrades — just as the summer construction season arrives. The result will be more delays and slow zones for Metra and El riders, more congestion on expressways, and longer commutes for everyone,” Costello added. “It is time for Congress to stop playing politics with the livelihoods of commuters and pass a multi-year bill that supports transit across our region.”
Costello reiterated the RTA’s support for the U.S. Senate’s recently-passed, bipartisan surface transportation bill — Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). While not perfect, Costello said that bill had the following provisions which are vital to the long-term health of Illinois’ transit system:
The House vote comes on the heels of a new report showing a sharp increase in the use of public transportation. Last week, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released a report revealing that Americans took more than 235 million more public transit rides in 2011 than in 2010. In all, Americans took 10.4 billion rides on public transportation in 2011, according to APTA.